Public Intoxication on Private Property

They who stroll around town belligerently drunk risk being arrested for public intoxication, but what if they are on their own private property?

Photo by: harlandspinksphoto

Photo by: harlandspinksphoto

Public intoxication defined

Utah Code 76-9-701 states “A person is guilty of [public] intoxication if the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, to a degree that the person may endanger the person or another, in a public place or in a private place where the person unreasonably disturbs other persons.”

Loud drunks

If someone is intoxicated on their private property but is being loud enough to disturb their neighbors, they can be charged with public intoxication. What about those who wish to drink quietly in their front yard, never disturbing others? This is a gray area which a few have fought in court and won recently. There are a couple ways to help in prevent cases such as these.

Fenced private property with signs

If the general public can enter a yard or porch without having to open a gate, many law enforcement officers agree that the property therefore becomes public, since anyone can access it. If a fence with a gate is placed around the property with signs stating that it is private, that can help distinguish the property as not being public, and can make public intoxication charges harder to stick.

Keep it down

Even if a yard is fenced, a loud party with several drunken friends is likely to get the police called. By keeping things quiet, those in a party who venture outside to possibly have a smoke or to get some fresh air will be noticed less by neighbors. For those facing public intoxication while they were on their own private property, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss if the charges are just.

Southern Utah woman arrested for Child Abuse

Party of one

A southern Utah woman was arrested for child abuse Friday when police found her passed out drunk while her 1 year old baby wandered unattended.  26 year old Amanda Lee Gardner was staying at The Rodeway Inn in southern Utah, where it appears she consumed a large quantity of alcohol and left her 1 year old daughter to roam the hotel.

Photo by: Christina Welsh

Photo by: Christina Welsh

Sick baby, drunk mom

The one year old baby girl was found alone by other patrons of the hotel after 10pm at night.  She was wandering around on the outside balcony of the second story and was acting very ill.  She was vomiting and obviously needed medical care.  Police were called and when they located Gardner she was intoxicated on the floor, and difficult to arouse.  Police then contacted an ambulance and CPS.

Treated, then arrested for child abuse

Both baby and Gardner were taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center.  The baby girl was dehydrated and had hypothermia but has made a full recovery.  She has been taken into Child Protective Services until further notice.  Gardner was released from the hospital, arrested, and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah.  She is facing charges of child abuse of a disabled child because of her neglecting a child of such a young age.  This charge is a third-degree felony.

Next time get a sitter

Amanda Lee Gardner has history of alcohol offenses in southern Utah, but no known charges of child abuse.  She was ordered to get help in the past for her addiction, but it appears that alcohol still has control of her life.  It is unknown as to why she was at the hotel with her daughter and if she was drinking alone.  Although no child should be left in the care of a negligent parent, proper rehabilitation for Gardner could eventually make her fit to parent her child again.  With an understanding and intelligent criminal defense attorney, those facing child abuse charges while under the influence of alcohol can regain control of their lives again.

DUI Automobile Homicide for Man Involved in High-Speed Pursuit

DUI automobile homicide after high-speed pursuit

Photo: Public Domain

A man arrested last May after a crash that killed the three other passengers in his vehicle pleaded guilty to DUI automobile homicide on Friday, March 27. One of the passengers was the driver’s girlfriend, and the others were juveniles.

Attempting to Flee Always a Bad Idea

Trying to flee from police officers always makes things worse. At the very least, it adds additional felony charges onto what might have been simple misdemeanors had the suspect chosen not to flee. However, for Jonathan Ulises Analco-Cruz, 24, attempting to flee led to a high-speed crash that landed him with multiple counts of DUI automobile homicide.

According to KSL News, on May 17, 2014, an officer attempted to pull over Cruz for doing 60 mph in a 35 mph zone at Salt Lake City International Airport. Cruz accelerated with erratic lane changes as he sped toward eastbound I-80, at which point court documents state that the officer ended the pursuit for public safety reasons.

However, near the I-215 interchange, Cruz apparently lost control of his vehicle and rolled it several times. A reconstruction of the incident indicated that Cruz was going 103 mph when he lost control. Cruz was found at the scene in critical condition. His girlfriend, Michaela Martin, 18, was killed on the crash, as were two male juveniles, ages 17 and 14.

Cruz’s blood-alcohol level was 0.21, almost three times the Utah legal limit of 0.08, and THC was found in his system. Court records indicate that an arrest warrant had been issued for Cruz just nine days earlier for failing to pay a fine and driving infractions.

Cruz pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI automobile homicide and failure to stop at an officer’s command, all second degree felonies.

When a DUI Misdemeanor Becomes a DUI Automobile Homicide Felony

As stated at the beginning of this post, attempting to flee is always a bad idea. Had Cruz consented to be pulled over, he would’ve most likely received a speeding ticket and a DUI charge, a class B misdemeanor provided he didn’t injure anyone or hadn’t been convicted before. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Instead, Cruz attempted to flee and killed three people in the process. Now he has three second degree felonies he is facing. A single second degree felony is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The most important thing to remember is not to take your changes attempting to flee from police if you are driving under the influence. However, if you or someone you know has already been charged with DUI automobile homicide charges, don’t leave the potential of losing fifteen years of your life in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will look out for your best interests.